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History Vault: NAACP Papers

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History Vault: NAACP Papers is a database from ProQuest. It offers not one, but six different modules of NAACP papers from 1909-1972 (as well as immigration records of the INS from 1880-1930). This time period covers the first 63 years of the NAACP’s existence, including the major events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Each of the above mentioned modules contain a number of records (i.e., archival folders), and each record has a large number of pages. Each module contains thousands of records, varying from 3,116 to 4,407, and hundreds of thousands of pages, varying from 210,000 to as many as 398,000. Modules can be subscribed to individually or in any combination. A small number of the documents in this database can be found freely on the Internet, on the Web sites for the NAACP and/or the Library of Congress (in the LOC exhibition, The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom). ProQuest estimates these free sources contain at most 100 documents, as opposed to the many thousands available in this database. This makes NAACP Papers by far the most extensive resource for these kinds of materials.

This database offers a basic and an advanced search and a number of browsing options. The advanced search allows the user to structure a targeted query using multiple search bars and the standard Boolean operators, while the basic search offers a query using a single search bar. The browsing options provide access to all of the modules subscribed to, as well as to a number of timelines.

This database’s search and browsing options generate lists of results that can be navigated and understood with minimal difficulty. Documents, once found, are easy to view, print, e-mail, and export, but can in some instances be difficult to read (due to poor copy quality). Pricing for this database is per module subscribed to, and is based on FTE, population served, enrollment, or number of knowledge workers. The subscription price per module starts at $10,837 and can go as high as $39,406. Potential subscribers should contact ProQuest for more specific pricing. The provisions of the licensing agreement for this database are fairly standard and offer little cause for concern. However, before subscribing to this product this agreement should be carefully examined by potential customers and their legal counsel. This database is a good resource for documents from, and on the history of, the NAACP. However, it can be very expensive (depending on the database modules subscribed to) and would therefore only be of use to those individuals and institutions that could afford the cost and that save frequent need for these kinds of materials.

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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